Immigration, asylum and anti-deportation

Opposing the two Bills (John Moloney's column)

On Saturday 15 January, I spoke at the “Kill the Bill” demonstration in London. The demo protested both the Policing Bill and the Nationalities and Borders Bill. We need an ongoing movement against both pieces of legislation, which represent a slide towards authoritarianism. The government’s war on migrants has direct industrial implications for our union (PCS) members who work in the Border Force. The government wants our members to drag migrant boats back towards France. Given that these boats are frequently overcrowded and unseaworthy, such a policy greatly increases the danger to the...

Kill the two Bills!

January 15 has been named as a “national day of action” against the Tory Police Bill (now in its last, Report and Third Reading, stage in the Lords), and Another Europe is Possible and others including the Labour Campaign for Free Movement will protest against both the Police Bill and the Borders Bill (starting Lords committee stage 27 January) the same day in London. 12pm, Saturday 15 January, Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3TL We urge readers to back the protests in London and elsewhere. Sadly, even as late as 11 January, protest times and places for 15 January have been released only for a few...

The need for week-to-week socialist organising

As we go to press, talk is rife of Tory moves to oust Boris Johnson — in favour, alas, of someone probably even more right-wing. The Tory government is on the back foot, floundering on Covid, commanding little trust or credit, u-turning again and again. And yet its Borders Bill (went to Lords 8 December), Police Bill (entered final Lords stage 8 December), and Health and Social Care Bill (Lords committee stage starts 11 January) are going through Parliament with little loud and active opposition. The left seems to be on the back foot, too. There are millions who oppose the Tories from the left...

Borders Bill puts 40% of ethnic minority UK citizens at risk

The protest-criminalising Police Bill is just one element of the Tories' push towards a vicious authoritarian state. Just behind it in the parliamentary queue of measures to assault the rights of people living in, working in or trying to come to the United Kingdom, the Nationality and Borders Borders Bill passed the House of Commons on 8 December and is now on its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill now attacks the rights not just of the small numbers of refugees the Tories are trying to present as some kind of overwhelming tide, but of vast numbers of UK citizens – mainly with...

Europe’s policies enable Belarus border gambit

The humanitarian crisis continues at the borders between Belarus and Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Belarus’s government triggered the situation, as retaliation for EU sanctions over President Lukashenka’s authoritarian crackdown. Belarus has cruelly duped desperate people — mainly from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, including many persecuted Yazidis and Kurds — by selling them flights to Minsk and visas that it falsely said would get them legally into the EU. On arrival, they find they can only cross irregularly, through dense, dangerous forest in increasingly harsh weather. Border guards and...

Polish government whips up nationalism

Poland’s hard-right government, previously flagging in the polls, is using the crisis to stir up patriotic support. It has shown itself willing to match Lukashenka’s cynicism and absolute disregard for human life. The militaristic narrative of refugee pushbacks, presented by the government as defending Polish borders against hybrid war, is based on and feeding into racist and xenophobic tropes of Poland as the “bulwark of Christendom”, combined with playing on the fears of imperial appetites of Russia. This allows them to dehumanise refugees: presenting them as either a direct danger (for...

Hundreds protest against immigration detention in North East

On Tuesday 23 November, the day before 27 people drowned in the English Channel trying to reach the UK, Priti Patel announced the official opening of Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in County Durham, a new women-only facility intended to replace the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre near Bedford. The new facility in Medomsley, near the town of Consett, was formerly Medomsley Detention Centre (for boys) and was the site of historic abuse carried out over decades before closing in 1988. Five former officers have already been jailed for their part in the abuse with many more...

Asylum rights for Uyghur refugees

The vast majority of Uyghurs live in China, mainly in East Turkestan. Nearly a million Uyghurs live outside of China, mainly elsewhere in Central Asia, e.g. in Kazakhstan, or in Middle Eastern countries like Turkey. There is also a small community of about 2,000 to 3,000 Uyghurs in Afghanistan. All communities in Afghanistan face horrors with a collapse of food supplies, health care, and economic life since the Taliban took power. Many of the Uyghurs are especially afraid of how they will be treated by the Taliban because of its growing relationship with the Chinese government. The Uyghur...

Squaring anti-racist instinct with pro-Brexit policy

To be fair to the Morning Star, the fact that it had no coverage of the Wednesday 24 November tragedy in the Channel until its Friday edition (26 November), a day later than the rest of the media, was probably due to its limited resources and inability to extend deadlines. When it did come, the Morning Star’s coverage was mainly pretty good: a front page headline “Give Safe Routes To Refugees” and a lead story quoting refugee rights groups blaming racist border fortification policies by both the British and French governments. The editorial on Friday 26 November was headed “Britain’s inhumane...

Safe routes for refugees! Fight for free movement!

Many hundreds joined the protest at the Home Office initiated by Sisters Uncut on 25 November, to mourn and denounce the deaths of 27 refugees in the Channel the day before. Hundreds joined a Stand Up to Racism rally at Downing Street on the 27th. There have been protests around the country. The PCS civil service union has joined a legal challenge to the Tories’s “pushback” policy, and says: “If the government does not abandon this appalling approach, we will pursue all legal avenues including a judicial review... PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the...

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